temporary bridge shelter
One of the bridge shelter tents that the Lucky Duck Foundation donated is still in operation in Barrio Logan. The other now sits in storage unused in Chula Vista. / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

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This post originally appeared in the Feb. 8 Morning Report. Subscribe for free here.

The city on Monday resumed welcoming newcomers in city shelters following weeks of paused intakes at most shelters due to a spike in COVID cases.

City spokeswoman Ashley Bailey said the decision to resume intakes follows a decline in new coronavirus cases over the past few weeks and consultation with the county public health officials.

The city reports there were only four positive results recorded during last week’s testing at city shelters.

Since the omicron variant exploded in San Diego in late December, there have been roughly 170 positive tests among shelter residents and staff, leading the city to halt intakes.

As of Sunday, just under a third of 1,342 city-funded shelter beds were empty. The city began filling them Monday.

“Intakes will be done using a scaled approach,” Bailey wrote in a statement. “The city and Housing Commission have been working closely with providers to ensure the continued health of both clients and staff as we look to serve more individuals experiencing homelessness.”

The halted intakes for weeks throttled the city’s efforts to move homeless residents off the street, including during a large-scale outreach and clean-up operation in the Midway District. The lack of shelter beds also led the city to temporarily halt enforcement of crimes associated with homelessness since a federal court ruling and a city legal settlement require that police offer open shelter beds to homeless residents before citing them for offenses such as illegal lodging.

Bailey said enforcement didn’t immediately resume on Monday when shelters reopened.

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

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